The First Domino Falls: AD Dodds Done at Texas
Share this article
The smokescreen of denials has led to fire in Longhorn country.
The next question is this: When will it lead to a firing?
You know it will.
Orangebloods.com has quoted its sources as saying longtime Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds has decided to resign by the end of the year. Whoever arrives as his successor is odds-on to invoke a common college tradition in these modern times. Namely, clean house in the revenue sports.
In Texas, those would be baseball, basketball ... and football.
Longhorn football has never been officially declared as the state religion -- Texas A&M, Baylor, and God-knows-what-other-schools keep objecting -- but the puffs of white smoke that emerge from the new AD's chimney may well be coming from the ashes of three existing contracts, announcing that three new ones have taken their place.
Texas baseball has boasted alums such as Roger Clemens and Brandon Belt, and Augie Garrido is the winningest coach in the college game, but most of those accomplishments are yesterday's news. Toss in the fact that Garrido is 74, and one doesn't need to be Nostradamus to see a gold watch in his immediate future.
Horns hoops has been in decline for several years, now. Rick Barnes rebuilt the program when he first arrived, but now he has trouble keeping the players he's signed. The Big Dance has included several Texan invitees, but the Longhorns missed it altogether last season. It's at the point right now where big-name coaches elsewhere are quietly anticipating a chance to take over one of the nation's top college jobs.
And then there's the showpiece.
Mother Nature is surely thanking cyberspace, for without it, an entire forest would've been wiped out to make the newsprint that carries all the rumors, slings, and arrows converging on beleaguered coach Mack Brown like piranhas in full frenzy.
Believe it or not, there are stats more important to Longhorn leaders than won-loss records: season ticket sales. And recently, those numbers have not been pretty. Brown may be under contract until 2020 and have an onerous buyout clause, but being paid out of a revenue pool that's dwindling because of continued poor performance isn't going to cut it. A tipping point will arise sooner or later.
Bet on sooner. Especially if other sorts of Sooners prevail again in the Red River Rivalry this season.
In his three decades at the helm, Dodds has turned Texas athletics into a monster of a money machine. Always a presence, Longhorn clout grew so omnipotent under his reign that other significant programs couldn't stand the stifledom any longer. Arkansas was the first to go in 1991, marking the beginning of the end of the Southwest Conference. Nebraska could no longer stand Texas' insistence on holding most-favored-program status as regards media revenues and bolted for the Big Ten.
And Dodds' crown jewel of cash generation -- the Longhorn Network -- convinced Texas A&M and Missouri that it would never be treated equitably in any conference that included Texas. Ironically, even with ESPN as a partner, the endeavor has been underwhelming. Still, it's a $300million deal, and it's infuriated every partner the Longhorns have or have had for its sheer stand-alone selfishness.
Ironically, the net result is other schools have found deals that allow them to better compete for Texas talent. And they're doing quite well at it.
So, Texas stands alone in the Lone Star state in ways it never intended. And now, the architect of the empty empire is on his way out. As with every other coup, a body count will follow.